FW: Mexico expands monarch butterfly habitat

Cris Guppy or Aud Fischer cguppy at quesnelbc.com
Sat Nov 11 02:10:33 EST 2000


The only problem is, there is a considerable difference between winters in
southern California and the mountains of northeastern Mexico. The two types
of hibernation sites are simply not comparable. It is COLD in the mountains,
and the air temperature in small stands is significantly colder than in a
large continuous tract of forest.

Also, although the area has been set aside as a reserve, it is obvious that
disturbances (natural and human) will continue within that area. If a
disturbance affects a small reserve, the Monarchs lose their winter habitat.
If a disturbance affects a large reserve, the Monarchs just move to another
part of it.

In California, if a disturbance (storm, fire) knocks out the remant stands,
what is going to replace them? Trees take many decades to grow.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Cherubini" <cherubini at mindspring.com>
To: <LEPS-L at lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2000 2:30 PM
Subject: Re: FW: Mexico expands monarch butterfly habitat

> > Mexico expands monarch butterfly habitat
> > On Thursday the government announced it was increasing the size of the
> > protected area to 216 square miles (= 138,240 acres = 56,000 hectares)
> > 62 square miles (=39,680 acres =16,000 hectares), and expanding
> > the so-called core zone where cutting trees is banned. In buffer zones,
> > regulated tree-cutting is permitted.
> > The new protections will link a string of nature reserves to create
> > a continuous corridor in the butterfly's winter nesting grounds. It
> > will add a 100,000-acre buffer zone around the current monarch
> > reserve, which has been degraded over the past few decades by
> > illegal logging.
> What's really happening in Mexico is that American monarch scientists
> have arbitrarily designated 216 square miles (=138,240 acres =
> 56,000 hectares) of forest as essential monarch overwintering habitat.
> They have no scientific evidence to back this claim up. For example,
> at any given time during the winter the monarchs occupy a total of less
> than 50 acres (20 hectares) of forest in Mexico.
> As an analogy consider the Monterey Pine forest in Cambria, California
> which is several hundred acres in size. Only one or two monarch
> overwintering colonies, each a fraction of one acre in size, are located
> within this vast forest. It would be ridiculous if (hypothetically)
> Mexican scientists came to Cambria and arbitrarily designated the
> entire pine forest in Cambria as essential monarch habitat.
> Why would it be ridiculous? Because at Pismo State Beach,
> just a short distance away from Cambria , the same number of monarchs
> can be found overwintering in a comparatively tiny 5 acre isolated clump
> eucalyptus trees. Also, up at Pacific Grove, California, hundreds of acres
> of Monterey Pine forest were logged off many years ago leaving just
> a few small fragments of forest. Yet in one of these tiny 3 acre clumps
> is one of the largest and most stable monarch overwintering colonies
> in northern California.  Therefore in situations where monarch colonies
> are located within immense tracts of forest, only a minuscule portion
> of that forest is essential butterfly habitat - the rest is not habitat
> could be logged off without harm (from a butterfly conservation
> standpoint).
> Paul Cherubini, Placerville, California
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